Welcome to the era of prohibition. It’s 1920 and the consumption of alcohol is the apparent cause of social downfall in America. The black market for liquor is booming and ‘bootlegging’ is back in fashion – hip-flasks of moonshine slipped neatly into ladies’ boots fuel illegal parties of the coolest guys and dolls in town, all to the soundtrack of underground jazz.
One goodfella to frequent the New York speakeasy scene was a young man named Jack Percoca, whose tales have been circulating in owner Luca de Mari’s family for generations, thus inspiring the clandestine theme of Jack Percoca Bar & Kitchen. It’s a fantastic theme and Luca has absolutely aced it – the fun jazz music and strong cocktails make you want to loosen your bow tie, prop yourself up at the bar and hope for an eventual lock-in.
With that image in mind, it was time for the food, and as you might have guessed, Luca has nailed this bit too. After spending 8 years opening restaurants around the world (including in New York, Sydney, London and Newcastle – my home city!), he’s settled in Madrid. Opened just 2 months ago, Jack Percoca is a new kid on the Conde Duque block, but it feels like Luca’s been running this joint for years.
Jack Percoca’s menu is Italian but with an international twist: the Smoking Bullets are stuffed deep-fried rigatoni (imagine a crispy pasta croquette); Fake Tartare is a steak tartare (egg yolk included) but with Mediterranean vegetables instead of meat; and the Spaghetti burger playfully replaces the bun bit with a hearty basket of spaghetti.
Some perfected Italian classics can also be found on the menu, like the Antipasti selection, the Burrata, and many delicious pizzas and pastas, but the highlight of the night was the pizza-style Margherita Cheesecake. It’s made with Italian mozzarella cheese, home-made tomato jam and a bright-green basil syrup. If Jack Percoca himself were to ever have tried this, he’d probably say something along the lines of:
“I didn’t choose the Margherita Cheesecake; the Margherita Cheesecake chose me”.
Price per person: €15-20
Address: Calle Conde Duque 14
Nearest metro: Plaza España
Telephone: 915 13 50 44